After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them. John 13:12-17
With a briefcase in hand and swimming in a suit two or three sizes too big, I stood in front of my first-grade class and announced my intentions: when I grow up, I want to be a K-Mart manager. Understandably so, laughter, groans, and snickering broke out. My memory is a bit foggy, but I swear to this day that a boy in the back row yelled, "You want to be WHAT!?!?!"
Career day was in full effect. All of your typical fireman, pilot, teacher, doctor, movie star, and scientist were well represented. I, on the other hand, stuck out like a sore thumb. You might be wondering how did I decide that retail management should be my career path?
The answer is simple: my dad. If the person I looked up to more than anyone else chose it and felt satisfied in his role than it was good enough for me. I adored the man. I wanted to walk in his footsteps. And even though I went a different route than "blue light" specials and overseeing Black Friday shopping, he still is my hero.
When you think about it, my Career Day choice makes a lot of sense. We instinctively reflect the people we admire. Like a sponge, we soak up every little nuance of who they are. We attempt to mimic their words, actions, style, and demeanor. We want to look like mini-versions of them.
What's interesting is that the word "Christian" comes from a Greek word meaning "little Christ." Talk about a perfect Career Day choice. When people watch the way we live and go about our business, they should see the reflection of Christ. Jesus invites us to spend our days following in His footsteps. He gave us an example to shoot for and its centered on humbly serving, forgiving, loving and making much of others.
Scripture says that no one has ever seen God, but when we love one another something miraculous happens: His love is made complete (1 John 4:12). Quite simply, we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Just like the oversized suit I wore, at first, we might look out of place, silly, or ill-prepared. One glance at our "resume" and the world would say we aren't cut out for the job. And, the reality is, we're not. Relying solely on our strength, ability, and willpower, we will fail miserably at living a selfless life and displaying others-oriented love. But, by keeping our eyes focused squarely on Him and letting Him transform our heart and character, we will grow into the role. The suit, our new identity in Christ, will fit perfectly.
How can you reflect Christ's example by serving and loving others today?
God, I want my life to bring You glory. I desire for my heart to reflect Your own. May I spend my days following Your example and let that encounter shape every part of me. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.